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Games Commentary

Zurab Azmaiparashvili: “Eljanov got a good idea: to make a haircut!”
Monday, 24 May 2010
The Astrakhan stage of the FIDE Grand Prix is close to an end. With just one round left to play we asked the FIDE Vice-President Zurab Azmaiparashvili to share his opinion about the tournament.

230510_zurab_1.jpg– How do you rate the organization of the event?
– The playing conditions are good. The participants have no complaints: the service is decent, the hotel is very good. There were some issues on catering in the beginning, but they are now resolved. Speaking of organization, the tournament is definitely successful.

– Who made the biggest impression on you in Astrakhan?
– Of course it’s our leader – grandmaster Pavel Eljanov from Ukraine. He didn’t achieve much at the previous stages of the Grand Prix, and arrived to Astrakhan as an underdog.
However, here he demonstrates creative and uncompromising chess! He lost two games as White, but won two games as Black! After his second Black win I jokingly told to Pavel, that he has got a god idea: to make a haircut, it helps to attract more luck. He obliged, and won his next game against Leko, which allowed him to regain the first place. It seems he is not going to miss the overall victory.

– What can you say about the players who are trying to qualify for the candidates matches?
– There were five of them before the tournament: Teimour Radjabov and Vugar Gashimov from Azerbaijan, Peter Leko from Hungary, Dmitry Jakovenko from Russia, and Wang Yue from China. In my opinion, they did not manage to approach this tournament in their best shape.
This is especially true about Leko, who is in my opinion one of the most talented players in the world. Peter played very well at the earlier stages and was very close to the candidates matches. However, he still did not win a single game here, if we exclude the game with Alekseev, in which the Russian lost on time in a drawn position. Now his chances to qualify for the candidates matches are very slim.

Wang Yue tries to fight in every game, but he seems a bit unlucky. He just can’t start playing his best chess.
Teimour Radjabov was too nervous in the beginning of the event and played too solid, making draws from the position of strength. He almost did not make mistakes, but failed to win games against Ivanchuk and Jakovenko, and then fell victim of the famous football saying and lost to Eljanov. After that he won as Black against Akopian and Mamedyarov with surprising ease...

Dmitry Jakovenko played in his usual solid style and scored a respectable “+1”. However, he didn’t use all his chances in the second half of the event: missed a win against Gelfand and made a quick draw with Eljanov, losing almost all the chances to compete for the World Championship qualification.

Vugar Gashimov was the main contender for most of the event. All he needed is to avoid losses at the finish. However, he didn’t cope with the task, and everything will be decided in the last round.
– What do think about other participants?
– Some of them were unable to show their best chess due to stress. Playing a Grand Prix stage differs from playing a regular tournament: here you must put the maximum! As you see, Ivanchuk, one of the best players in the world, has “-2” with one round to go. Vassily is a man of moods. In the right mood he can crush any tournament in the world, but here he is unable to concentrate properly and show his true skill.
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